Moles and Milia Seeds
Beauty Spots May Not Always Live Up To Their Names
Contrary to popular belief, only a small percentage of moles known as congenital melanocytic nevi are present at birth. Majority of moles develop in the first 30 to 35 years of life and are known as acquired melanocytic nevi. Moles are more common in people with fairer skin and there is a genetic disposition to moles, often in the case of people with lots of them. Frequent unprotected sun exposure in childhood or perhaps even later in life promote the growth of moles. Moles can develop anywhere on your body, including your scalp, armpits, under your nails, and between your fingers and toes. Most people have 10 to 40 moles. They may change in appearance or fade away over time, and hormonal changes of adolescence and pregnancy may cause moles to become darker and larger. While some moles can become as famous as the bearer themselves, think Marilyn Monroe and Cindy Crawford, for the majority, they are blemishes that we rather do without. Most moles are harmless, but sometimes, they can turn cancerous. Monitoring moles and other pigmented patches is an important step in detecting skin cancer, especially malignant melanoma.
Often mistaken for whiteheads, milia seeds are actually keratin-filled cysts that form just under the skin, looking like white or yellowish bumps on the surface. Commonly known as ‘milk spots’, milia seeds is commonly associated with newborn babies, but occurs in children and adults, too. While it is largely a skin condition that resolves spontaneously without any treatment in infancy, milia seeds can hang around for a really long time in affected adults, if not forever. Although they are not dangerous and are painless, they usually develop around the nose and eye regions and can be persistent and linger around for a while. There are several factors that cause milia seeds in adults. Most commonly, they occur from the build-up of dead skin cells that get trapped in the pores near the surface of the skin. If the build-up doesn’t get expelled naturally, it can become a small cyst. Heavy oil-based skincare or makeup products should be avoided by those who are prone to milia seeds.
How can we tell if a mole is turning into cancer?
Use the “ABCDE rule” to look for some of the common signs of melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer:
- Asymmetry --- One part of a mole or birthmark doesn't match the other.
- Border --- The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
- Color --- There’s a variegated appearance and color is not the same all over. This may include shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.
- Diameter --- The spot is larger than ¼ inch across, although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.
- Evolving --- The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.
How do we get rid of benign unwanted moles and milia seeds?
Before you have any unwanted skin blemishes such as facial moles removed, it is important for them to be properly assessed and ascertained to be benign by a qualified medical practitioner. The ablative CO2 laser is one of the simplest and most effective method to get rid of troublesome and unsightly moles and milia seeds. During the procedure, the laser seals the blood vessels and evaporates the tissue that is removed. Therefore, it is not necessary to cut the skin or to use sutures. Consequently, laser removal of moles is less likely to create scarring like other forms of mole removal.
What kind of downtime should I expect?
Post laser treatment, a scab forms in the area where the mole once was. This usually takes about 5 to 7 days to fall off on its own. There is a common condition known as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation or PIH that commonly affect Asians and it is important not to pick on the scab and apply adequate sun protection post treatment. Otherwise, you might end up with a dark spot in the area where the mole used to be.
Moles — Sometimes beautiful, sometimes distracting
Mole removal is available at our clinic.